Despite Toronto's notoriously expensive housing prices, residents are still buying homes even amid the COVID pandemic. And as the economy picks up again as more regions enter into Stage 3, the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) believes housing prices could inflate even further.

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The average selling price of a home in the GTA shot up 11.9% in June compared to a year earlier, and was up 7.8% compared to May 2020, according to the latest TRREB data.

However, to bring a sense of balance to the market, TRREB is now recommending that various levels of governments should take policy measures that lead to the development of more housing opportunities in Toronto neighbourhoods that will keep prices affordable for buyers.

Among TRREB's recommendations is that the City should focus on increasing housing supply, and specifically, the supply of a greater variety of mid-density housing types, including "missing middle" housing, which is defined as unit types that fall between a single detached or semi-detached house and a high-rise building.

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TRREB submitted its recommendations to the City's Planning and Housing Committee following a report titled “Expanding Housing Options in Neighbourhoods” from City staff that sets out principles and a process for developing new policies to allow for more housing options in Toronto's “yellow belt,” which refers to the 35% of the City designated as "neighbourhoods," of which 70% only allow detached housing.

"TRREB believes that housing affordability challenges in the City of Toronto are largely a result of inadequate and inappropriate housing supply and mix. The best long-term solution to housing affordability is to increase the supply of available housing and to encourage a more balanced mix of housing types, especially the “missing middle”, said Lisa Patel, TRREB president in the submission.

While Patel says TRREB supports the City's report, it also calls for it to be further streamlined as the current plan could be very lengthy and lead to delay in the creation of housing that is already overdue.

"We urge the Committee and City Council to move forward with this initiative expediently and to create a simplified process that will facilitate the creation of much needed “missing middle” housing, said Patel.

"In this regard, TRREB welcomes any opportunity to work with Council and staff on this, as we did during the development of the HousingTO Affordable Housing Plan."

The Planning and Housing Committee's recommendations will be considered by City Council on July 28.

Real Estate News